Chicago Hot Dog Recipe

You're in luck if you've never had a Chicago-style hot dog or want to go the DIY route and make your own. Here's how to create this culinary masterpiece in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Image showing the ingredients for a Chicago Hot Dog - courtesy of Vienna Beef
The ingredients for a Chicago Hot Dog - courtesy of Vienna Beef

The Recipe

During one of my first sojourns to the Windy City, I encountered a unique and tasty treat, the Chicago Dog. It falls into the class of a Minneapolis Juicy Lucy, a Philly Cheesesteak, Cincinnati Skyline Chili and a Binghamton Spiedie. All of which are also delicious.

Over the years, I made it a point to fix them at home whenever the mood struck me. Unfortunately, the proper ingredients weren't readily available, especially the Sport Peppers. We subbed in Texas Pete Pepper Sauce, pulling the tiny peppers out of the bottle as opposed to dousing food with the sauce. It worked but wasn't perfect. It was also a challenge to find the genuine nuclear apocalypse green relish.

In 2021, much to my delight, I found the relish in, of all places, our favorite seafood store, Coastal Seafoods. Then, that Christmas, my son and his family gave me an authentic Vienna Beef hot dog kit. My of my, having the right ingredients makes a difference!

The Vienna Beef Chicago Hot Dog Kit ingredients - in good taste all year
The Vienna Beef Chicago Hot Dog Kit - in good taste all year

Well, enough with the preamble; let's get cooking (pun intended)


I'm sticking with the original Vienna Beef but will offer alternatives since I know the Vienna products aren't universally available.

  • Vienna Beef Hot Dogs - Nathan's Ballpark Franks are an excellent alternative
  • Poppyseed hot dog buns
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Bright Green Vienna Relish - Mt. Olive Sweet Green Relish also works
  • Freshly chopped white onions - red and spring onions work just fine
  • Tomato wedges
  • Kosher pickle spears - Claussen Sandwich Slices also work nicely
  • Sport Peppers - Texas Pete Pepper Sauce peppers sub in nicely, as do pepperoncini peppers in a pinch
  • Celery salt - we generally use celery seed to reduce salt intake:>)


The order and quantities are important to achieve the perfect Chicago Dog experience. Be prepared for them to be messy to eat, and don't hesitate to use a knife and fork to get all the goodies.

  1. Boil the hot dogs to prepare them for the feast
  2. Steam or warm the hot dog buns. Here's a neat trick, leave the buns frozen and wrap them in paper towels. Then put them in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Voila, steamed hot dog buns!!
  3. Place the dog in the bun
  4. Add yellow mustard in a zig-zag pattern
  5. Slather on the green relish
  6. Add a layer of chopped onions
  7. Place two tomato wedges along one side
  8. Place a single dill spear on the other side
  9. Top it all off with two Sport Peppers
  10. Sprinkle on celery salt to taste
  11. Enjoy with chips and a pilsner beer!

For you visual learners out there, I copied over the pictorial version of the recipe from the Vienna Beef website.

Image of Step 3 - place the hot dog in the bun
Place the Vienna Beef hot dog in the poppyseed bun - no drooling!
Image of Step 4 - adding mustard
Let your artistic side shine with a well-crafted zig-zag design in mustard!
Image of Step 5 - adding pickle relish
Add relish with relish! Go bright green for full effect!
Image of Step 6 - adding chopped onions
Chopped onions are next in the order; add them now!
Image of Step 7 - adding onions
Bolster the left flank with tasty tomato wedges - half slices are fine.
Image of Step 8 - adding the Kosher pickle spear
You're nearly there - add a pickle spear to the right flank.
Image of Step 9 - adding the Sport Peppers
Bring on the Sport Peppers! Not as hot as a jalapeno, but too hot for some folks.
Image of Step 10 - adding the celery salt.
A little celery salt rounds it out nicely. Now, dig in!